Today we decided to be spontaneous and do a little day trip to Philadelphia (which is, frankly, a little more than day-trip distance from where we live). We had to arrive there before noon, as the Seaport Museum offers free admission until noon on Sundays, and we needed the admission money to pay for the gas to get up there. So that entailed an early morning start, which meant that we had to leave the house in a not-very-tidy state, which I hate. I worry that we'll get killed on the road and relatives or neighbors will have to go into our house to figure out what to do with our possessions and will see what a mess we lived in. I'd die of embarrassment (that is, if I weren't already dead).
A long drive could be pleasant if we were allowed to listen to the radio. But Susie (otherwise known around here as She Who Must Be Obeyed) has decreed that only certain music may be played on our new CD player in the car. It has to have words, and it can't have too much "Daddy voices," for starters. This really bothers Larry, who erroneously assumed that as a grown-up he'd be allowed to listen to whatever he wanted to. We tricked her with a little Broadway show music for a bit, but then we had to bite the bullet and put in Raffi. Unlike Larry, I don't mind listening to Raffi, but his songs all have the distinctive quality of being able to burrow into your brain and stay there for a very, very long time. This is a bad thing.
Theo was away on a canoe trip and for some reason our teenage daughter Anna had absolutely no desire whatsoever to spend the day with us, so we only took 4 kids; that meant that I was able to be a passenger instead of driving the second car, which meant that I finally had time to finish crocheting a hobo-style bag that I started last year. Yes, it took me a whole year to find a big enough chunk of time to figure out what mistake I had made so that I could fix it and get on with the project. In fact, I didn't care about seeing Philly at all. I just wanted a car trip long enough for me to get the bag done. Philadelphia was just a nice bonus.
We saw the Seaport Museum (for free!), which was filled with just enough kid-friendly activities to enable us to stay there a whole hour; then we visited the Tall Ship Gisela (and if anyone can explain to me the "Tall Ships" concept, I'd really appreciate it), where I was able to show off to the tour guide all the stuff I learned about ships during our year in Newport, RI (forgive me, but I so rarely get to show off about anything...); and then we visited a submarine and the USS Olympia, which I believe was Commodore Dewey's flagship during the Spanish-American War (learned all about that yesterday); and then, being thirsty and hot and tourists, we spent a large portion of the children's college money on what the Philadelphians call Irish water ices, which were sort of thick, dye-ridden Italian ices, only not as good.
Since we wanted to tire out the kids before putting them back in the car, we dragged them on a couple-of-miles walk into the city to see the Liberty Bell, which is cordoned off behind a security shed and not exactly, um, free, if you get my meaning. There must be better things for Philadelphia to spend its security dollars on - evacuation plans, say, and maybe some terrorism-proof communication systems. Besides, the Bell already has a crack in it. What else is someone going to do to it?
So that sort of bugged me. Because the last time I saw the Liberty Bell was 20 years ago and it was out in this sort of open brick pavilion in the middle of a grassy lawn, and that seemed a little more fitting, somehow, than housing it in the museum equivalent of a bunker.
Anyway, we traipsed back to the car, getting a little lost on the way, and settled in for the ride home, after spending the rest of the kids' college money on bottles of water that weren't heated to 90 degrees by sitting in the car in the sun. We arrived home exactly at bedtime, with Rachel and Susie both well-rested from their naps in the car. So I sat at the computer and told Larry I had to finish an article for Home Education Magazine (I lied - instead, I goofed off in the blogosphere) and he was in charge of somehow stuffing them in their beds against their will. If this seems unfair, let me point out that he left me (again) this morning for a 4-day management retreat. So don't talk to me about unfair.